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Eurail pass vs. ticket - sanity check

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Hi all,

We are planning a two-week trip in June to Florence, Antibes, and Como, with 2-3 day trips from each of those three bases (including hopefully a day in Switzerland). We will be flying in and out of Milan. It will be me, my husband (both well over 25), a 15 year old niece, and 11 and 8 year old children.

Because we are traveling with children who have never traveled internationally before, and because my husband and I are veterans of spontaneous European travel on Eurail passes pre-children, we are hesitant to book point-to-point tickets in advance (even though we do understand that is usually the cheapest option).

That leaves passes or purchasing point-to-point when we get there. When I do the math, it seems that our best bet is either the Eurail pass or the France-Italy pass over my best estimate at point-to-point costs. (The France-Italy pass only has 10 travel days, which is probably enough, but then we'd have to pay for the Como-Locarno, Switzerland ticket if we decide to go, which might still be OK.) I know everyone swears by point-to-point tickets, but with the 11 and 8 year old getting to travel for free with our adult Eurail passes, plus the 15% discount for all 5 of us traveling together, I think the scales slightly tip in favor of the pass. I do realize that reservation fees are not included in Eurail passes. I just want to make sure I'm not missing something really obvious here and that I'm understanding the details correctly.

Also, if any of you have purchased passes, have you just gone directly through eurail.com or some other source? I've read enough horror stories about Rail Europe to know I don't want to use them.

Seasoned European train travelers, please weigh in before we drop a bunch of $ on trains!

Thanks in advance.
Kristie

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